Blueprints for the Next Generation of Bioinspired and Biomimetic Mineralised Composites for Bone Regeneration

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Coccolithophores are unicellular marine phytoplankton, which produce intricate, tightly regulated, exoskeleton calcite structures. The formation of biogenic calcite occurs either intracellularly, forming ‘wheel-like’ calcite plates, or extracellularly, forming ‘tiled-like’ plates known as coccoliths. Secreted coccoliths then self-assemble into multiple layers to form the coccosphere, creating a protective wall around the organism. The cell wall hosts a variety of unique species-specific inorganic morphologies that cannot be replicated synthetically. Although biomineralisation has been extensively studied, it is still not fully understood. It is becoming more apparent that biologically controlled mineralisation is still an elusive goal. A key question to address is how nature goes from basic building blocks to the ultrafine, highly organised structures found in coccolithophores. A better understanding of coccolithophore biomineralisation will offer new insight into biomimetic and bioinspired synthesis of advanced, functionalised materials for bone tissue regeneration. The purpose of this review is to spark new interest in biomineralisation and gain new insight into coccolithophores from a material science perspective, drawing on existing knowledge from taxonomists, geologists, palaeontologists and phycologists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Drugs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018


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